Backpacker’s Hotseat: Nicole of Bitten by the Travel Bug

I envy her! (that’s really my first sentence huh?! haha) Well, not really “envy” but more of an admiration for Nicole because at the age of 17, she already knew what she loves most and that is to travel. Had I known that this is the preferred path I want for myself, I could have taken a Creative/Adventure Writing in College so I could have been a travel writer or photographer instead of sucking up in a corporate world, imprisoned in a dark sealed office window. No regrets, just sharing my realizations and always counting my blessings.

When I get frustrated and stressed at work, Bitten by the Travel Bug has never failed to bring that positive spirit back on track. There’s always something fresh to see, destinations are inspiring, photos are amazing and it makes me want to travel more. The next thing I know I’m shrugging off the challenges at work and just filing a leave and planning my next trip. And yes, that’s always the case.

So I had to interview Nicole, the lady behind Bitten by the Travel Bug, see what’s the secret behind the blog’s positive halo. Scroll and read to know her more.

1. How did you discover your passion for backpacking/travelling?

I was bitten by the travel bug when I turned 18-months old when I took my first plane flight to Melbourne, Australia! My parents have always been the ones who wanted to travel – whether it be in Australia or overseas to places such as Hong Kong – and this travel was the basis of my passion.

It wasn’t until I turned 17 and decided to high tail it out of the country to work at an American Summer Camp that the travel bug really bit, and I never looked back!

2. What inspired you to start a travel blog?

When I was researching information about working at summer camps in 2009 I found that there was little to no information about working at them, and the sites which contained information were linked to companies with the same spiel that “it’s the best summer of your life!”
I was looking for real information – “It’ll be good but…” or even a simple “Run away! Don’t do it!!!” so decided why not take the plunge and document my trip simultaneously so I didn’t have to send emails to everyone.

Whilst I was at summer camp I got really interested in Twitter (since Facebook was blocked) and begun talking to all these bloggers who were based in London (my next port of call.) It was these friendships and going to TBEX Europe in Copenhagen that all this lead me to continuing to peruse blogging!

3. What life lessons have you learned from backpacking/travelling?

I’ve learnt plenty of life skills whilst travelling.

*I’m quite a shy person by nature but from travelling I’m slowly learning to be more confident and make friends – I even got a date in Sydney!

* I’ve learnt to manage my own finances. I am TERRIBLE with money and when travelling I have learnt that if I don’t spend carefully then I have to go home early.

* I’ve learnt that I’m a lot more capable than I thought. I’ve navigated countries where I don’t speak the local language, dealt with creepy people responsibly, and learnt a lot more than any classroom could ever teach me. I encourage everyone to travel, even if just for a short period of time, just to learn about themselves.

I just wish I could learn to not over pack – My backpack or suitcase is always too heavy!

4. If I have the super powers to teleport you anywhere, where would you want to go?

I’d love to go to Iceland!!

A lot of bloggers have been visiting Iceland recently and the photos and stories have me curious and wanting to experience it! Second to that would be North Korea, I’ve always had the want to visit this country and it’s fascinating culture, especially whilst it’s so closed off to most travellers.

5. Among the places you’ve been to, which one fascinated you the most?

Oooh, tough one!

I was fascinated with Spain because, if the English hadn’t been so curious, the world language could be Spanish as they held quite a number of colonies for years. Not only the historic aspect but the cultural aspects – everything from bull fighting, an ancient tradition which is beginning to be banned because of the animal friendly world we are stepping into, to the diverse array of food.. and the language! It is a fabulously captivating country.

Second would be the fascinating world of Japan – it really is a special place where the future and the past collide into something amazing. I spent a week in Kyoto and two weeks in Tokyo and couldn’t get enough of it! Whilst the language barrier frustrated me it was worth it when I got to meet and talk with Geiko and Maiko, that is Geisha’s and Maiko from Kyoto, or to walk the cobbled streets of Gion with all the flashing neon lights of the karaoke bars and night clubs!

6. What can you say about “relationships, romance and love” while on a backpacking journey?

If you find someone you like, take a chance. Some of my best friends have met people while travelling or working abroad and are now engaged! (Just look at Michael Tieso from Art of Backpacking and Stephanie Yoder from Twenty-Something Travel)

I mean, the worst you can do is have to leave, which whilst heart-breaking at the time, you will get over it; and if you don’t perhaps you were meant to be together!

7. What are your top 3 backpacking tips to women?

1. Travel with a phone in case of emergencies and make sure it works in every country you go to. I’ve only called the police once but was so glad I was able to.

2. If your gut instinct is telling you something is unsafe, listen to it. Women have amazing intuition and I think listening to instinct has kept me out of trouble a number of times.

3. It’s amazing how versatile a maxi dress can be – wear it casually, on a date, formally, or as part of your cover up when visiting Muslim countries.

8. Would you recommend quitting a corporate job just to travel? Why or why not?

I don’t have a personal experience quitting the corporate job to travel but if travel is your passion and your job is making you sad I say why not?!

9. If you have a month and $2,000 where would you go?

Right now I’d jump on a plane and head to Asia to explore.

Would love to visit Thailand, Nepal, and South Korea; and I’ve heard the Philippines are pretty nice as well! 

10. What’s your favorite travel quote?

“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” [Robert Louis Stevenson] –

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7 thoughts on “Backpacker’s Hotseat: Nicole of Bitten by the Travel Bug

  1. Ahh! How had I not seen this until now. I am so slow!

    Thank you so much for interviewing me for your backpackers hotseat Gail!
    Can’t wait to read more of your adventures. 🙂

  2. I want to to thank you for this good read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it.

    I’ve got you book-marked to look at new stuff you post…

    1. Hi Cecile, it really takes a lot of courage to go on a solo trip. But you can expect awesome results that would make you a better person i.e. independece, self-respect, self-esteem, resourcefulness etc. Hope you can try it and enjoy it soon! 😃

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